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What to Eat: Before and After a Workout

The big question everyone wants to know, what should you eat before and after a workout. Well, it really depends on the person, the time of day, what the training regimen is, and what was consumed the previous day or hours before the workout.

So, let’s break this down. There have been several different articles over the last decade in regards to what to eat before and after workouts. Some say eat an hour or two before exercise and then the same for after. Some say you don’t need any food/calories prior to exercise, but definitely some after. In an article I found online, it states both carbs and protein are vital to consume before and after exercise. It states healthy fats may be consumed before and/or after, but fats will slow down the digestion and absorption of the other nutrients needed for glycogen restores and protein synthesis.

In my experience with my own body, and with clients I’ve worked with, I would choose from the following two options for pre-workout if performing strength, circuits or running workouts. One, if you have the energy from previous hours/day carbs, you really do not need to consume anything before your workout. Two (which is my main choice), consume 10-20 grams of protein (depending on gender) and some sort of complex carb (whole wheat toast, fruit, potatoes,) precisely 30 - 60 minutes prior to workout. The protein will aid muscle contractions and the carbs will give you the energy needed.

Post workout meals are essential, and possibly the most important snack/meal of the day. The window of consumption is within 30 minutes post-workout. You want to immediately begin with protein, at least 20 grams and no more than 40 grams (lower for female and higher for male). Protein will allow the muscles to begin synthesis and allow the muscles to grow. Carbs after a workout will replenish glycogen restores, provide energy for the body, and aid in protein synthesis.

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